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The new EAL season got off with a blast on Saturday afternoon with a glut of goals providing much excitement across the divisions.
In the Senior Division, last year’s Division One champions, FC Baresi, grabbed the headlines in a fifteen goal thriller at Noak Hill where they took on East Ham Inter. A topsy-turvy contest, Adam Bessadi opened his account for the season with an Inter hat-trick. But his efforts proved in vain as debutant Billy Happe scored four, Mamoon Khan and Tyler Kirby each netted twice and Abdulwahid Zerrouki grabbed the other in an incredible 9-6 win for Baresi.
There were also plenty of goals in another of the top flight fixtures involving a new club in this division as two sides sporting contingents of players from eastern Europe, Rapid Chingford and FC Petrocub, met in this opening derby clash. Florin Ivancia got on the Rapid scoresheet but Petrocub ran in five goals of their own to pick up their maiden victory in the league.
In some slightly less goal-laden fixtures, another of the promoted clubs from Division One, Lymore Garden, made a statement of their intent this season with a terrific opening day win against experienced London Cranes in West Ham. Dylan Roberts grabbed the only goal of a well fought contest to lead his Lymore side to a 1-0 victory, their first points of the season.
And completing a quartet of good results for promoted sides, CSM London were the visitors as they took on fellow promotees, Chingford Athletic A, in their opening day match in Waltham Abbey. Gary Murray was on the scoresheet for Athletic but Omar Wilson’s also scored to see the sides end a close game in a 1-1 scoreline, offering much enthusiasm to both for the season ahead.
Goals were the order of the day in the second tier where two of the leagu’s new clubs, All Real and All Prospects, met in a mad opening day game in Walthamstow. Jason Mbelek scored a hat-trick for his side with Josias Biembongo grabbing the team’s fourth. But their efforts were outweighed by a nine-goal response from All Prospects who lived up to their name to secure a 9-4 win on the day.
The day’s other action at this level saw two further sides making their bow in the second tier with newly promoted Eastside hosting a newly formed Jolof Sports Under 21s side on the Marshes. Michael Dager and Johnathan Odutulu both netted for Side but Jolof scored three goals of their own to take the points in a 3-2 victory.
As we move into Division Two, there was another five goal thriller in the first of the two matches where the newly formed Unitey were hosts on the opening day against an experienced Cowley Community side who have plenty of experience at this level. Unitey however will have been the happier of the two sides as they won by the odd goal in five, winning 3-2 to secure maximum points.
In the other match in this division, last season’s promoted Division Three runners-up, Royal Forest, were the visitors to Newbury Park to take on Old Esthameians. Tom Osmond carried on where he left off last season with a goal to open his account for the new season but Neil Robinson done the same for the E’s to end this match at 1-1, a share of the spoils taken by both sides.
The trend of good results for the new clubs extended in Division Three where Chadwell Heath Spartans and Glendale met at Mayfield Leisure Centre for the first time. Newly formed Spartans were out of the blocks fastest with first half goals from Jeffrey Nketia, Jordan Thomas, Rashid Matabato and Ryan Sroka stunning the Dales. But Zack Clark and Daniel Muamba halved the deficit midway through the second half to make it interesting again only for Ricky Reid’s late fifth to finally seal the 5-2 win and maximum points for a rampant Spartans side.
In the day’s other contest in the fourth tier, there was a good result for Flyers Development who return to the league with some familiar faces this season. They were up against it with an away trip to face promoted Debden Park on Saturday. And it will have been the visitors who were the happiest with their efforts, picking up a 3-1 victory on the road to take the points back to Romford.
There were plenty more goals in Division Four where the opening action saw relegated Chingford Harriers looking to bounce back this year against newly formed Prospect Protégé. The latter led 2-0 only for Harriers to fight back to 2-2 through a brace from new signing, Oliver Silver. But their day was to end with a tinge of disappointment as Prospect scored their third late on to win it 3-2.
There was a familiar feel about the second of the three fixtures with Dagenham United Reserves up against rivals Brentwood United Reserves in their opening day battle. Dagenham goals from Craig Rivers and debutant Douglas Osmund proved to be the difference in the end as they ran out 2-0 victors, an opening day performance to offer much optimism.
In the day’s remaining action, last season’s cup finalists, Loughton Lions, were on the road as they went up against newly formed Flyers B in their clash in Romford. The Lions will be pleased with their efforts, roaring to a 5-1 win to secure maximum points and topping the table after week one of the season.